Blank Rome Secures Summary Judgement for Daktronics in Patent Infringement Suit
A Blank Rome IP team secured summary judgment for Daktronics before Judge Sweet in the Southern District of New York, dismissing a claim that the company willfully infringed a patent for a theatrical winch. This is a significant victory for the client, as it prevents the plaintiff from raising willful infringement at trial and disposes of the threat of treble damages and attorneys’ fees based on willfulness.
Late in the lawsuit, the plaintiff added a claim of willful patent infringement to its complaint, alleging that Daktronics knew about the plaintiff’s patent prior to the lawsuit and chose to willfully infringe. To stop the plaintiff from clouding trial, Daktronics responded by filing a motion for summary judgment of no willful infringement, arguing that there was no evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff countered with a motion for sanctions, alleging Daktronics withheld material evidence on the willfulness issue. The court granted Daktronics’ motion for summary judgment, and denied the plaintiff’s motion for sanctions.
Of particular interest and a finding of first impression, the court found that even if Daktronics’ outside counsel was aware of the patent before the lawsuit, that knowledge could not be imputed to Daktronics for purposes of willful infringement.